TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY TIP 63: SHOOTING STARS IN THE NIGHT SKY

So, you want to do one of those lunar shots that light up the nightsky with stars.
Well, here’s five tips gleaned from my mad rush to learn how to do it for the shoot I’ve just returned from in Western Australia.
Conditions: The first thing you need is a cloudless sky and darkness – real darkness, as in as little ambient light as possible (which is why the Australian outback, and isolated coastline  or a remote island is ideal).
Helpful Apps: Download two Apps – Star Walk and Moon Free. Star walk (an amazing, interactive app) guides you on where all the prominent constellations sit so you can line your subject up with the richer, more colourful clusters in daylight), while moon free shows you the phases of the moon on any given day (best shooting conditions are during a moonless sky).
Equipment: You’ll need a tripod and at least a 35mm, full frame camera with a wide angle lens ( I used my 17-35, 2.8). You’ll also need a torch so you can see your dials in the darkness and “paint your foreground subject with light” if you want to get art farty.
Shooting details: F2.8 at 6400 ISO for about 25 seconds at infinity did it for me unless I wanted a bit more depth of field in my foreground subject. Then I shot at F4 and played with the ISO. In this example with the lighthouse (below), I used an on-coming car light in the distance to illuminate the tower.
Final Tip: Slow everything down and settle into the peace and quiet of your surroundings (It’s not as if things are going to change in a hurry) and once you have something in the can, review your environment and have a go at producing something different to what you’ve seen elsewhere .
Now I’m confident with the technique, I’ll look to improve on it and certainly bare it in mind in future.

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Night sky over Exmouth Lighthouse

Night sky over Exmouth Lighthouse